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Trump plans to swipe billions more from military for his wall

The funding would be in addition to the $3.6 billion the Trump administration took from military families in 2019.

By Dan Desai Martin - January 14, 2020
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Donald Trump

The Trump administration is aiming to take another $7.2 billion intended for the military and use it to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, the Washington Post reported Monday. That funding would be on top of the $3.6 billion the Trump administration took from military families in 2019.

According to the Post, the $7.2 billion would come from Pentagon funds for military construction projects and efforts to stop drug trafficking. The sum is more than five times the amount Congress authorized the Trump administration to spend on border wall construction in 2020.

During his 2016, Trump repeatedly promised that Mexico would pay for the wall. Once Trump came to power, he broke that promise, instead taking billions of dollars meant for military families.

In 2019, the Trump administration took half a billion dollars meant for school construction projects for children of military members. At one training facility in New Mexico, funding was cut to repair or replace a facility where air force trainees are using duct tape to repair holes in the walls and ceiling. The Trump administration also took funds from an Andrews Air Force Base child care center that has regular sewage backups.

According to the documents obtained by the Post, it is unclear what military construction projects will be further delayed or canceled in order for Trump to build his promised wall. The Trump administration claims to have built 100 miles of border wall so far, but the overwhelming majority is nothing more than replacing old sections of border walls and barriers.

Trump has pledged to complete 450 miles of border wall before the 2020 election.

“Trump’s abuse of power is pervasive and it’s hurting military families,” Will Goodwin, a veteran and director of government relations for VoteVets, wrote on social media. “His fake national emergency, to steal money from military projects to pay for his racist vanity wall, is a clear abuse of his power.”

Congress tried to stop Trump from taking the money from the military in 2019, but Republicans in the Senate prevented the measure from moving forward. Some of those who sided with Trump face tough reelections in 2020, and already saw funding from military families in their state taken to build the border wall.

Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) supported Trump’s previous efforts despite the fact that $30 million was taken from Fort Huachuca. McSally previously described that funding as “critical.”

North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis backed Trump’s ploy even as $80 million was taken from military bases in his home state, including a desperately needed fire station at Fort Bragg’s Pope Army Airfield.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) voted with Trump even though $8 million will come from a space control construction project at the state’s Peterson Air Force Base.

McSally, Tillis, and Gardner all faced withering criticism for turning their backs on the military families in their respective states.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to VoteVets director of government relations Will Goodwin as Will Gordon. The error has since been corrected.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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